Character Analysis of Jem Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird

A classic work of American literature is To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee and originally published in 1960. It is considered to be one of the greatest novels of all time. The author depicts various social and economic problems that a child may face as she grows up through the eyes of a young girl known as Scout. She also brings up the issue of the American South’s complicated racial relationships in the twentieth century. Scout’s brother, Jeremy (Jem), Finch, is one of the book’s main characters. In this article, we’ll talk about his personality and his role in the story.


Brief Synopsis

The story is set in Maycomb, Alabama. Jean Louise Finch (Scout), the novel’s main character, is six years old. Her family consists of her father, Atticus Finch, brother Jem, and housekeeper Calpurnia.

Atticus Finch is a busy single father who works as a lawyer and spends long days in his office. Meanwhile, Scout and Jem spend their free time playing with each other, but their adventure-seeking personalities can’t stay out of mischief. They wander around a house on their street where Boo Radley lives with their neighbor’s nephew Dill. Boo has a reputation for being a frightening and dangerous individual. The kids try to get him to leave his house, but he never does. Instead, he leaves them small gifts in a knothole near his home in an attempt to gain their trust and friendship.

Meanwhile, Atticus takes on a case in which he is defending an African-American man named Tom Robinson who is accused of raping and assaulting a white girl named Mayella Ewell. Scout and Jem have suffered a great deal of humiliation, unfair judgment, and racial remarks due to their father’s defense of this man. Rather than succumbing to negative conclusions, they honor their father’s work and admire him for assisting an innocent man.

While defending Tom, Atticus confronts and offends Mayella’s father, Bob Ewell, because Bob is a drunk who uses racial slurs and disrespects court procedures. Tom gets convicted of rape despite the fact that there is insufficient evidence to establish he committed the crime. He then perishes during an attempt to flee. Racism has returned to the South. Scout and Jem must learn yet another lesson about society and the unfairness of life. Later, Bob Ewell tries to retaliate against Atticus by attacking Jem and Scout’s children. They are ultimately saved by none other than Boo Radley. And the police decide not to press charges against Boo Radley, citing his mental state as a reason for self-defense.


Jem Finch Character Analysis

Jem Finch can be described as follows:


Jem looks up to his father, Atticus Finch. He, like his father, tries to be respectful to everyone, regardless of race, gender, or social standing. But, first and foremost, he expresses admiration for his father. When the children return to Radley’s house in Chapter 6, Jem gets caught in a fence wire, tries to flee because he is afraid of Boo Radley, and leaves his pants behind. He realizes that not only he but also Atticus could get into trouble. He admires his father so much that he overcomes his fear and returns to the house to retrieve his trousers.


As Scout’s older brother, Jem tries to teach her many things, but among them is his sense of humor and openness to new experiences. Scout beats up Walter Cunningham in Chapter 3, and Jem says the following:

“Atticus is a gentleman, just like me!” says the author. On page 238 of the book,



Like many 10-year-old boys, Jem enjoys sports and aspires to play football. Unfortunately, he does not make the team, and the coach informs him that he is too skinny. It doesn’t deter him, and he attends team practice sessions. Even though he is not a player, the coach assigns him to be a water boy, which allows him to be a part of the team, socialize with the players, and gain experience being a part of a team sport. You can tell he is very eager to make the team because he tries to gain weight by eating a lot to participate in tryouts and eventually make the team.



Throughout the book, readers can see that Jem is a wonderful older brother who consoles Scout when she has difficulties at school. He remembers starting school years ago and understands what she is going through, so he expresses his empathy and complete support.



Jem, like many children his age, is incredibly naive. Tom Robinson’s trial was one of the things that forced him to grow up quickly. Before the case, he had a preconceived notion of Maycomb and its inhabitants. He regards them as righteous men who are and judge people based on their actions rather than their skin color. His naiveté quickly fades when he realizes he is surrounded by people who don’t want to see beyond their noses and are extremely racist:

“I always thought Maycomb people were the best people in the world, or at least that’s how it seemed.” (page 486)

Protective Jem adores his sister Scout and understands how important it is for him to keep her safe from harm.

When she returns to Radley’s house and discovers a piece of chewing gum in the knothole, he insists on her spitting it out and promising never to take anything from the knothole again.



Jem asks a lot of questions throughout the story. Sometimes they are quick questions that he asks Calpurnia about anything and everything, as many children do. Even though he is curious about significant and challenging matters that he does not understand. For example, when he ponders why Boo Radley refuses to leave his house and always stays inside. He launches into a brief monologue that demonstrates his thought process and curiosity:

“That’s what I thought when I was your age, too,” he finally admitted. Why can’t people get along if there’s only one type of person? After all, if they are all the same, why do they go out of their way to dislike one another? Scout, I believe I’m starting to grasp something. The reason why Boo Radley has remained in the house all this time is becoming clear to me… he prefers the comfort of his own home…” (See page 578 for further information.)



All of Jem’s attempts to visit Boo Radley and the fact that many of those attempts were successful indicate that he is a very adventurous child. Dill dared Jem to go to Radley’s house at the story’s beginning. Scout made the following observation:

“Jem never turned down a dare in his entire life.” (page 41)

This implies that Jem can almost any wacky misbehavior that life can throw at him. He is willing to go along with his adventures no matter what, and he always agrees to any dares.


The Character’s Role and Influence

Jem is a symbol of bravery, courage, and good character. He is a good, honest, and caring little boy who adores his sister. His leading role in the story is an innocent child who believes that the world is a safe place where everyone is a good citizen. However, his views and character change dramatically after witnessing the horrors taking place around him. He notices his father’s failure to persuade people in his hometown that Tom Robinson does not deserve punishment because he is not guilty. It is difficult for a child to understand people’s racial prejudice, inability to reason, be honest with themselves, and stand up for the truth.

Harper Lee demonstrates that it is in our nature to be good and respectful to everyone through the lens of Jem’s character. She explains that every one of us is a child at heart. Despite this, our society and the beliefs it instills in us change our personalities, resulting in terrible consequences for people who do not deserve to suffer and die.

The character of Jem Finch serves as an example to readers of a brave, intelligent, curious, respectful, adventurous, and sympathetic child who plays one of the book’s leading roles. The author employs him and his sister to demonstrate the good in people, even if they forget about it at times and thus endanger innocent lives.